Some people were angry with me for calling our puppy “Gus,” but looking at this photo, I wonder if we shouldn’t have called him Yoda? Is it just me, or does he look like Yoda’s spawn, perhaps he will teach me the force, perhaps he is a wise teacher come to save me, and has taken the form of a Boston Terrier puppy, Gus has the wise eyes of Yoda, the wizard master of Star Wars.
Everywhere I went in town today, everybody I met asked me when the puppy was coming and wished me well. This, of course, is what I love about a small town, you may or may not be liked, but you are almost always known. We have set up our pens and crates and readied our toys and treats.
Maria and I talked about Gus this evening, and Maria confessed she didn’t love the puppy period, she loved the period when they grow up. I do love the puppy period, it gives me a chance to work on my dog training, something I love. So we are a good team, Gus will spend many happy hours in Maria’s lap, I can promise you that.
The housebreaking and training campaign will fall to me, Maria is just not into it, you know how artists are. One of us zigs, the other zags. We work well together, she can assemble a crate in a flash, I can figure out what to put in it.
I am not nervous about getting Gus home, but I am excited.
We will go straight from Robin Gibbons house to the Mansion, where Gus will meet the residents, I will bless his career as a therapy dog, then to the Round House Cafe, where he has already been named an honorary cafe dog. Then, I think to the book store to meet Connie and her mother Marilyn, and then home.
I suspect he may be tired by then, we will feed him in his new temporary home, the downstairs crate and then take him outside for some facetime (inside his pen) with Fate and Red. Fate will have a meltdown, I imagine, we’ll see, she is the Queen Of The Hill around here, and will have to yield some territory.
He will be tired tomorrow, but will probably yowl all night for his mother and brothers and sisters. A rite of passage for puppies. I will close the bedroom door.
Getting a dog is a big deal for me, for two decades it has been the focal point of my work and much of my life. Dogs have sparked, witnessed, inspired or challenged me at every point at which I have evolved as a human being. I believe dogs are spirit dogs who come for a reason, Gus has yet to reveal his purpose to me, many of you will probably see it before I do.
I do think there is some wisdom in those eyes, it’s just how I feel. Every dog I have owned has changed me, most often for the better. I see dogs as the magical helpers who saved me and guided me on my hero’s journey. One got me to the country, another kept love alive, another brought Maria to me, another took me into hospice and other therapy work and brought me to the Mansion, a dog is now the official mascot of the Bedlam Farm Warriors Soccer Team (really?) and another is arriving tomorrow.
I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me, what he will teach me, how he will guide me. Am I putting too much on a dog? Some people will think so, but then, if you listen to some people, you will crawl up into bed and just wither.
Maybe I am overthinking, but I’m passive about it. Dogs have taught me patience and perspective, he might just be one of those fun dogs who lighten up life. And we have pure joy and fun together, always, me and my dogs.
I have always been a border collie and Lab person, I have not usually considered small and non-working dogs to be serious. The big touch men in trucks I have met up here – I consider many my friends – adore their small dogs in ways that surprise and puzzle me. Will that happen to me? I don’t know.
I am most at ease with the border collies. They share my work ethic, high-strung nature and obsessiveness. We think alike and get each other. We are always asking, “what’s up?,”what’s next,” “when can we get to work?”
I got suddenly ill early this afternoon, perhaps some medications, perhaps something I ate, the pain in my stomach was severe and I was soaked in sweat and ill, I thought for a moment I might have to go to the hospital. Fate and Red instantly sensed something was wrong, Red came up to me and Fate climbed up onto the chair to sniff and lick my face and whine a bit.
I got better and was tired but okay, and I thought, this is why I love border collies so much, they miss nothing and see everything and know what is real and what is not. I wonder if Gus will be capable of that kind of connection?
I am eager to see what Gus asks of me, and what he requires from me. Those things are hard to see when you’re in it, I am getting older and I expect Gus to grasp that in some way. Dogs sense these things.
I am always looking to be a better human, every day I wake up and ask myself how to be a human being? More than any human, dogs have helped me stumble along on that path.
And what if Gus is a wizard master, if the look is real?
So yes, another chapter in that journey tomorrow, another magical helper, perhaps, on the hero journey. What is the Kingdom, for me? It lies in the realization of the divine spark in my neighbors, my friends, my enemies, in all of us, and yes, our dogs as well.
See you tomorrow.